I opened my eyes and looked out of the skylight at the single brilliant star shining in. I tried to be awed at the wonder at all that the star represented but I just couldn’t. I was too tired and had to get ready for the trip to work in the North Country. I tested my shoulder and, yep, it still hurt. Laying there for a minute, I listened to our 9 year old, slightly asthmatic Catahoula snorfling and wheezing while she slept. It’s a comforting sound but it’s also sort of frightening. It reminds you that one night you’ll wake up because you don’t hear it and the next day will be hell as another part of your life is gone forever.
I rolled out of bed while trying to keep from waking Lisa and heard the oddly comforting sound of my shoulder popping into place. Walking by Maggie (our Pit Bull with Down’s Syndrome) I noted she had torn all of the stuffing out of her bed that night (again) and arranged it in a neat pile around the now flat casing that she was sleeping on. I thought about picking it up, decided to pretend I didn’t see it and went into the bathroom to get ready to hit the road.
Downstairs and closed the door behind me. I heard Maggie follow me down the stairs but once she hit the closed door, she was pretty sure I’d been abducted by aliens and, thus, was no longer her concern. I could hear her go back upstairs to give Lisa the good news as I went outside to get into the car and start the trip Upstate.
3:30 AM. There was snow falling but I didn’t think much of it. As I continued north, it got heavier and heavier. Finally, I exited onto Highway 11. I drove for another hour and it was just me and the snow. Quiet and cold.
I went to the job, finished up and drove back home. I was on my couch by 1:00 PM. I looked out over the dock and marveled at the frozen river and the snow and the birds.
So much snow. And so very cold.
It was then that I realized that even with a 50% reduction in income, not having any family or friends near us, and the 132″ per year of snow average, I wouldn’t trade the move to the RiverHouse for anything.
In just a few days, I’ll be watching the Mallards, Mergansers, Swans, Herons, and Goldeneyes on the river, Woodpeckers, Swallows, and Hummingbirds on the docks, listening to the Gulls squawk and Canada Geese honk as they fly overhead, and watching Eagles and Hawks patrolling the skies over the cornfields. The spring parade of turkey hens will soon walk across the cornfield on the other side of Route 37 and head for the woods about 1/2 mile down the road. They’ll stay around there until the hunters come in the fall for their annual cotillion.
I’ll be on the Marie J., cruising on the Erie Canal and visiting new places, seeing new things. Going out further and further until we are ready to head down the Hudson with a final destination of the Potomac River.
Perhaps in a year or two.
With Lisa. And the puppies.
And, winter will be a faint, annoying memory.